Copyright © 2009
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Chapter 1: The Green Elder
Chapter 2: Sharing the vision
Chapter 3: A good beginning
Chapter 4: The first test
Chapter 5: Headed for the town of Mother Mary
Chapter 6: The town where the crickets float in the water
Chapter 7: The hill of San Miguel
Chapter 8: The Islands
Chapter 9: The Mysterious Island
Chapter 10: The town of the Guardians
Chapter 11: The Industrial City on the east side of the shore
Chapter 12: The town from where the Moon rises
Chapter 13: Closing the Sacred Circle
Chapter 14: The town of the hill with fruits
Chapter 15: The last Journey: finding Rapavilleme
The sun was just rising when Rosana and I arrived to Lake Chapala, the largest lake of México, and the sight this beautiful place presented to our eyes was magnificent. A color symphony everywhere announced a placid dawn. It surely was a good omen for our upcoming group reunion at noon with a young master from South America.
A little later, we had to meet with the rest of our group to start some activities at approximately 30 kilometres from where we were. I was still wondering on the reason why Rosana insisted to leave Guadalajara city at such an early hour to travel with so much anticipation to the lake, when with no explanation at all, she commented:
- Why don’t we go to visit an old friend nearby? – It won’t take us too long, and anyways we are still early for our meeting –
- But Rosana – I protested – everybody will be waiting for us at the meeting –
- Let them wait then! – She answered – you and I are going to visit my friend now, it is important for you to know him as soon as possible –
Aware of my expression of confusion and surprise by the energy of her affirmation, Rosana softened a little:
- Well, you should know that members of the oldest indigenous traditions of our nation introduced me to my old friend, interested ? –
Her explanation had in me the desired effect, and without further protests and already inside the highway that connects the small towns of the north shore of the lake, I simply followed her instructions until I finally parked my car near a small but modern catholic church.
Once I closed my car, I immediately asked:
- And, are we going to pray now? The church is closed. Where are we going? – I counterattacked – and who is your famous friend? –
Rosana just looked at me with an incredulous look, and with faked impatience affirmed:
- No, we are not going to the church, but here beside the church is where the mountain trail starts, and we must walk in complete silence from now on, so watch everything, and later you can talk to me all you want. –
Feeling myself in between the ridicule and somewhat impatient, I just managed to say as if trying hopelessly to regain the control of the situation:
- It is all right then; let’s go ahead –
To perform any activity with Rosana was for me a true pleasure because in her being interacted harmoniously a subtle but powerful energy, and a comforting serenity that conferred her personality with a strange magnetism.
After approximately fifteen minutes of walking in silence through the bed of a dry and very Rocky River creek with tall bushes and a lavish vegetation, Rosana made a stop at the foot of three imposing trees that were growing very close from each other on the side of the rustic trail. Without a word, she proceeded to hug them in silence, saying hello to them with affection and veneration. Immediately afterwards, she followed me with her eyes when without even pretending it, I proceeded to do the same, hugging the trees in a very natural fashion. Rosana laughed openly when she saw my own surprise to what I just did, and in a spontaneous way commented:
- Well, well, it seems that you four already know each other –
I was going to answer that this was certainly not the case, but with a quick gesture, she asked me to keep silent, and restarted the walk immediately.
It took me a while to re-establish anew the necessary inner silence because it did not ceased to amaze me what just happened, as well as the fact that I thought I felt small energetic emanations coming to me from the trees, as I was hugging each one.
As our walk progressed, the lush vegetation was becoming almost impassable and the trail even rougher, until we left the creek behind and started to climb a soft hill through our left, walking in narrow and almost imperceptible trails through the lower hills of the mountain.
When I finally established a little of the needed inner silence, a new finding abruptly surprised me. Immediately after leaving the area where the three great trees were located, we started listening to all kinds of natural noises, such as cicadas, parrots and birds that were noisily warbling at intervals. It was as if the new route we took through the thickness of the vegetation were alive and vibrant. Rosana seemed to notice my new perception as well because without any notice she made a short stop in the trail to look at me for instants and affirmed:
- They are letting the guardian know that we are coming, and from now on, absolute silence –
A slight tremor went down through my body from head to toes. What guardian, I asked myself? Moreover, where is the famous friend? When I turned my head again to see Rosana, she had already disappeared behind the small trail. I decided then to stop any reasoning in order to catch up with her before I totally miss her trace.
After some five more minutes through a steep trail, it turned to the right to meet again the dry bed of the river creek from where we started walking at least 45 minutes ago. By that time, I started to lose the battle against a mixture of anger and nervousness for what I considered a total lack of consideration from Rosana leaving me on my own in that rustic and solitary place. Then, I immediately noticed I was falling again into the inner dialogue trap, and tried to calm myself in the middle of the creek through profound and deep breathing exercises to inhale more quantities of oxygen into my brain.
This procedure brought me good results, and already in a better disposition, I started to turn my head in all directions, especially towards the place where I thought the famous and inexistent trail could be located. The first thing I could see was a rustic spiky wired fence semi-covered by the existing and dense vegetation immediately above the creek. With a ray of hope, I quickly climbed to where it was located, and in a few moments, I discovered a rustic spiky wired door specially designed to prevent the cattle from entering up, that was actually wide open. This finding confirmed me without a doubt that Rosana passed through this place and left it open to show me the way.
After closing the fence and in the other side, I hiked the last segment that separated me from Rosana totally bended down, and almost on my knees due to the enormous number of bushes with dry and thorny branches that impeded my walking in a vertical position. After some thirty endless and steep metres, and when I was just about to give up, I entered into a comforting clear spot in the hill and suddenly saw it:
It was a grandiose vision, almost at the top of the hill; an imposing tree of an enormous and leafy top was rising in majesty and dominion.
I could not recognise what type of tree I was looking at, although it was certainly a native species, but at that moment, I did not remember having seen this species in any other part of the mountains. It had at least four meters of diameter by a height of fifteen to twenty meters, and a very strong aura of authority and peace. Being able to perceive it, stopped completely my internal dialogue, and without taking my eyes from its sight for an instant, I approached to where it was, going over I don’t know when or how, an untimely spiky wired fence that separated us.
The feminine sound of a happy laugh took me out of my trance. It was Rosana that said hello with affection, adding as a manner of explanation:
- Our dear green elder do not allow anybody to get to know him if not through their own efforts and a little sweat, but the rewards of his friendship and advices are always immeasurable. Afterwards, she kept silent and limited herself to look at me as if waiting for my initiative but as usual I didn’t know what to do, and returned to my silent observation of the formidable tree again, embedded and intensely attracted by the peace that emanated by its each and every pore.
In a severe and impatient tone, Rosana added almost shouting:
- We did not come here to waste our time in useless contemplations Agustín! –
I stood for an instant without knowing what to do and only managed to ask her impatiently:
- And now, what do you want me to do? –
The fierce and cold stare that I received for an answer increased even more my confusion, and then, almost at the edge of my desperation I suddenly remembered the words of a dear Native American medicine man that we met in the recent past. The Grandfather of the North told us: “Our brothers, the trees are the telephones that we can use to communicate with the Great Spirit and with all its creatures”.
Relieved by the timely inspiration, and without losing an instant, I asked Rosana with urgency:
- Please, set up a platform with the elements of our sacred traditions because we are going to talk a little with the spirit of this tree –
Rosana smiled very pleased and in a jovial and irreverent tone answered:
- Whatever you say, maestro Agustín –
Immediately, she started to prepare a rustic altar with natural materials she obtained from the place, doing this with precision and great speed, while I started in all humility to search within the deepest part of my being some type of silent synchrony with the characteristic vibration of the formidable and imposing green elder that was rising before us. Once the sacred fire ignited, and immediately after Rosana ended her respectful salutations to all the Sacred Guardians of the place, something like an internal voice spoke immediately through my heart, and what I received, greatly surprised me:
It was an urgent petition for help, and not the personal enlightenment or instant wisdom, which my ego enjoyed to fancy on sometimes.
The revered green elder was broadcasting an urgent call, asking on behalf of all the living creatures of the region, our help for the healing of the largest sacred Lake of our country, because the water, its most precious resource was being dilapidated by the human voracity, and all its forms of life were endangered, including ours.
The factual and most important danger for this sacred place would be the definitive disappearance of Rapavilleme, the powerful spirit that had animated it for thousands of years, venerated by all the ancient traditions of the region due to its characteristic vibration very suitable for the healing of all types of psychic and spiritual sufferings.
Some action was necessary, the sooner the better, and these restoration works had to be ritual by nature, and performed by groups such as ours, devoid of any protagonist delusions or connections with political or technological solutions, which only covered personal ambitions.
The work required honesty and a pure motivation, essential requirements to try and ritually grab the attention of the Guardians of the Lake, whoever they were. All those that could truly help the lake would hear what we had to say if our voice communicated the symbolism of a pure and generous motivation. A group such as ours could perform this ritual petition for help because we all belonged to the new Mestizo race that emerged thanks to the ethnical and spiritual fusion that took place after the conquest of Mexico – Tenochtitlan between the Nahuatl and the Spanish cultures.
As a result, the rituals to be attempted whichever they might be, should conjugate creatively a syncretism between the most sacred of both spiritual traditions, the Nahuatl and the Spanish, and all the rituals performed with neatness and respect, and there was no time to lose; it was imperative to start immediately.
A sudden but pleasant sensation of freshness took me away from my communicative trance with the revered green elder. Rosana wiped away the tears that have rolled with profusion through my cheeks. It was time to go back.
Sharing the vision
The morning was still quite chilly when I got out of bed early, trying not to wake up anybody, and went up to the roof of the small house nested in the mountains that surround Lake Chapala to perform a fast meditation and to ask the universal Spirit for aid and protection in this our new spiritual task. This day would initiate the first journey of a series of adventures that all the members of our group were willing to experience, in our eagerness to respond to the request of help made not long ago from our beloved Green Elder.
After having shared with the rest of the group, the extraordinary experience that I lived thanks to the opportune insistence on Rosana to introduce me with the Green Elder; I feared a little to receive incredulous stares or expressions of confusion from my companions. I feel a little ashamed to have entertained that possibility in my mind, because just as I finished explaining my perception of the work entrusted to us, I received an immediate support of everyone, especially of the infantile contingent that supported the motion with sonorous and happy cheers. It was as if all the members of a disciplined group of soldiers gave a unisonous step to the front accepting immediately the future task without thinking about any sacrifices or consequences for its exact accomplishment.
Krista who was the most enthusiastic of all, immediately fed my rudimentary idea of the future labors to perform in Lake Chapala with the most valuable suggestions and adequate proposals for the proper accomplishment of the ritual work that awaited us and of whose duration or complexity we simply had no idea.
We had decided to walk around the enormous lakeshore of eighty kilometers of length and twenty of width as many times as it were necessary. Initially to share perhaps the pain of the beautiful spirit of the lake because the human voracity seized already enormous quantities of water and diminished even more the already low existing level of the lake. All this caused by a prolonged drought, and a mild rainy season. The resulting climatic imbalance was being evident by the increase of the current temperature in all its area of influence or bioregion, which was enormous because this was the greater body of water in Mexico.
The Fauna and the Flora of the place was being affected more and more every day, specially by human selfishness whose productive industries irresponsibly unloaded tons of polluting discharges without any treatment into the big river that feeds the lake, unloading it less and less water and more and more contamination.
It did not exist in this scenario a person or a political or economic organization interested in helping Lake Chapala due to the complexity of the problem that involved several states in its area of influence. Also, because a teamwork or an authentic spirit of collaboration was absent among the parties that benefited from the same source, retaining illegally enormous volumes of water from the river that was supposed to feed the lake through the unlawful use of pumps. The enormous Lerma River that crossed through several states of the country and ended in the vase of Lake Chapala was like a broken-down and ragged blanket that each entity hauled for its own territory.
No politicians wished to be involved in initiating a true and structural solution to this environmental problem due to fear of damaging their images and future political careers. They limited themselves to pose for photographs in the mass media declaring all kinds of nonsense about misleading potential solutions that did not deceive anybody.
As if this devastating outlook wasn’t enough, the city of Guadalajara with several million inhabitants and located at merely 50 kilometers of distance from Chapala Lake daily turned aside for its own consumption great amounts of the reduced quantities of water that the other regions located throughout the Lerma River allowed to pass through and arrive to this sacred lake.
The magnitude of the problem and the little disposition of the actors involved exceeded any possibility of an economic, political, or technical solution. Consequently, we were amazed and surprised by the precise and wise request made to us by the Green Elder. To try to find a solution of a ritual type, which our group perhaps imagined naively like a formal request of aid to all the guardians who we knew existed in the place. They could definitely summon – If they received the appropriate request – the aid of Mother Nature through seasonal rainstorms as the only natural aid to avoid an ecological disaster that it certainly felt imminent.
A solution of this type would force the hardheaded, egotistic and heartless ones of all the regions by which the Lerma River passed through on its way into the Lake to open its dams or see them collapse by the pressure of an excess of water. Otherwise, it could bring the consequent loss of their harvests by the potential floods that a good rainy season could cause. It was the perfect solution, because in this way no politician, technician or economist could say they rescued Chapala Lake having to rise up their eyes instead to the skies as the only possible explanation.
The idea that received consensus by the entire group was very simple: to walk around the lake to participate in its pain and to help it in every possible way. Finding during our walking, the sacred spaces that could exist in its shore and from which it would be possible to make some rituals of healing and request of help.
In addition, we hoped that our public actions could generate at least some type of curiosity among the people we would be encountering in our walks. Moreover, to exchange if this were possible, some brief words with the intention to raise awareness on the tourists and the local population of the shore about the importance to take good care and to fight for the well-being of this Sacred Lake.
We had also decided to perform a ceremony in the shoreline of Lake Chapala to fill individual little bottles with water – which we knew it was at this point highly contaminated – to carry with us close to our hearts at all times while we were walking and working in the Lake. As well as to fill a bigger container with the same water to be carried in a backpack. All this with the intention and in the hope of being able to change – through the purity of our motives, love and hard work – the characteristics of the water carried, providing it with healing properties through the transmutation of our efforts and sufferings in our journey and our clear love by this enormous sacred Lake.
In a point in time that would arrive in the future, we would have to return back ceremonially all the liquid of the little bottles and the big container to the Lake in order to help for its healing. It was not the quantity but the power and energetic quality of the liquid carried close to our hearts in our long walks and our loving transmutation that we sincerely hoped could give the water healing properties.
The end of the ritual work of ceremonial walks would arrive when the spirit of the Sacred Lake communicated it to us somehow. For this, we would wait the amount of time necessary, working at the same time in our own personal healing and spiritual cleansing. The great elders we were so lucky to know personally in the past had taught us about the dangers and uselessness to try any ritual work of spiritual development, if this was not accompanied at the same time with an intense personal work of physical and spiritual purification.
Although our economic resources and of time were limited, we had decided to dedicate at least one week per month to the ritual work in Lake Chapala to which we referred with affection as the Sacred Lake. We agreed to share communally the economic resources we had at any given time. Even though some weeks some of us did not obtain a good income, chances were that always someone will had a good week in its work activities and vice versa; acting in this way everything would work suitably.
All these ideas crowded in my mind when in that fresh dawn I remained seated in the cold ceramic tiles of the roof, trying to detect some message that could arrive from the beautiful natural surroundings in which I found myself.
Almost at the end of my brief meditation when I was watching distracted at the sky, I could not contain an exclamation of genuine surprise before the spectacle that presented to my eyes. An enormous eagle formed by white clouds contrasted against the blue sky indicated with its beak and unfolded wings the direction to follow in the beginning of this, our next spiritual task.
Hey, let’s go, – said Felix – it is almost noon and we have not managed to even leave the house, please stop the endless preparations; we are just going down there, to the Lake – Can’t you realize that we are going to roast with the twelve o’clock heat? – He added visibly desperate while I was preparing to follow up with another similar comment that didn’t have time to come out of my mouth because Alicia exclaimed:
- Hats! Thanks Félix, I knew that something was lacking, and now, yes, let’s go –
Felix and I crossed glances of resignation and quickly crossed through the exit door. In the garden, the children already waited playing animatedly; behind us followed Krista, Alicia, and Rosana. After distributing our load for the journey of the day, we walked by the rustic rock road that lead our way down to the shore of the Sacred Lake.
When we crossed the Riviera highway, we respectfully yielded the lead of our group to Krista, who immediately initiated the search for a clear passage that could allow us a frank access to the lake, among the opulent neighborhood residences that in that zone prevented the free passage to its shore.
- This way – exclaimed triumphant Krista after she found in just a few minutes an empty lot not very far that would let us access to the shore of the Lake.
Our white clothes and the red bands that the women used in their heads had attracted in a short time the attention of the tourists who slowly traveled in their cars by the highway in that sunny Sunday; nevertheless, there were no mocking commentaries from them, only smiles and curiosity.
Excited as we were on starting a new spiritual work, we did not perceive at first the remarkable change of the temperature in the atmosphere, because only minutes ago, the heat was frankly suffocating and the sun fell heavy and bluntly on us; nevertheless, now the temperature was more pleasant and a fresh breeze was blowing.
Trying to pass unnoticed, we crossed the weak wire fence of the empty lot that according to Krista was inviting to us to enter. Once inside, we walked among its fruit trees and lush vegetation until we found the other end of the lot and entered into the sandy surface of the shore.
Once we left the empty lot, a strong gust of fresh wind received us all. The spectacle was impressive: the surface of Lake Chapala extended enormous everywhere our sight could reach, and more. The children seeing themselves free and without obstacles to the front ran gladly like rampant mavericks. In spite of being in one enormous and contaminated body of water, we all felt the joy; there it was in front of us our new task: peace, serenity and pain were a shared perception.
- We are here dear lake – Alicia whispered; Krista put her hands on her heart, Rosana stood in ecstasy with her eyes on the horizon. Felix and I smiled. The sacred spirit of the Lake knew that we had come to help and received us. The laughter of the children was its better hug. When by an undeserved grace we feel the love of our mother nature, the heart expands and never contracts anymore. We believed to be in a service mission to give and nevertheless, we were already receiving to the one hundred per cent!
Once we finished our spontaneous interaction with the spirit of the lake, Krista immediately indicated a place in the margins of the water, where Vicente, Ignacio and Juanito, – the three small members of our group – played cheerfully competing to see who soaked more the other.
- This it is a magnificent place for the ceremony – Krista affirmed, – please, everybody form a circle –
Completely ignoring the animated shouts of the children, Krista initiated the ceremony of water harvesting from the sacred Lake, and next reorganized the circle with all of us joined by the hands, including the children who curious had integrated themselves to our circle.
With a seriousness that did not characterize her, Krista offered to the Great Universal Spirit who animates it all, the fruit of our work, requesting protection to the tutelary deities of both traditions of Mexico and saluted all the visible and invisible guardians of the sacred lake. She requested they could listen to our humble appeal of aid, heal and help on the recovery of this now reduced and contaminated body of water embodied by Rapavilleme, the sacred Spirit of Chapala Lake. After her touching and inspiring intervention, our group kept an absolute silence in which time seemed to have stopped for some instants. A pleasant sensation of peace and serenity moved within our circle and through all of us and at that precise moment an enormous thunder boomed just upon our heads generating a huge group fright; we were hardly recovering from the unexpected roar when a heavy curtain of water fell on us. It was raining in abundance!
The children as usual showed us the next step by dancing carefree around our group under the unexpected torrential rain while the rest of us were still overwhelmed and smiling due to the magnificent signal we received from the heights. Immediately afterwards, we all incorporated to the spontaneous infantile celebration and danced with the little ones under the heavy shower.
Soaked but happy, we proceeded to walk closely together in a single row by the shore of the enormous lake with the mission to keep an absolute silence so we could connect internally if possible with the spirit of the Lake and follow its instructions.
Felix was leading the column, followed closely by Rosana, Krista, Alicia and the 3 small ones, while I was walking at the rear with the task of closing the group thus formed. After some minutes of a quiet walk, the rain stopped as suddenly as it had begun and by then the group already walked in a different state of consciousness, observing like a single unit everything that was transpiring around.
Felix without breaking the silence of the group, stopped for some brief moments to show the group with a hand motion some dead fish that the tide had deposited in the shore of the sacred Lake. It appeared as if the Lake wanted to show us the tragedy occurring in its interior due to the pollution thrown under its body.
After a brief inspection made by the infantile curiosity, we continued the quiet march surprised by the fact that so far neither Juanito, Ignacio or Vicente, – the small ones of the group – had broken the formation or the silence of our group. By this time, the sun had reappeared through the clouds and was falling again with all its force over our heads. Immediately afterwards, Alicia efficiently started to make the distribution of our hats, which were received with quiet acceptance.
We had been walking for at least one hour without greater eventualities, except for stopping some times to give the children some water, a little rest and freedom, or perhaps to lighten their loads or clothes, due to the evident increase of the temperature in that sunny Sunday. As we walked, we started listening a small rumor that soon turned into loud music as we approached a group of tourists who had managed to introduce their cars until the very shore of the lake.
When we were about one hundred meters from the group it was also possible to listen some screams accompanied by all class of wicked words, coming from some members of the group of tourists that were evidently intoxicated by alcohol consumption.
They did not seem to be locals, and were dedicated to break with stones the bottles of liquor they already ingested, and placed standing in the margins of the shore just in the sand wet by the tide. In this new scenario, our entire group depended in those moments on the decision that Felix – our walking leader – could take in anticipation to what was going on. To make matters worse, the zone of the shore occupied by the intoxicated tourists was very narrow and it was impossible to avoid the area where they were.
We had previously decided to walk if possible, entirely on the shore of the lake or in specific points of energy in its surroundings, because we considered in this way we would have more chances to make contact with the sacred spirit who inhabited Chapala Lake.
After moments of indecision felt by the entire group, and without stopping the march, Felix sensibly changed the pace of the march by walking in a firm and martial mode. He even accelerated our walking speed, guiding us to the small space that existed between the cars, the intoxicated tourists, and the shore of the sacred Lake but just within the zone of throwing rocks chosen by the noisy group of tourists.
As we approached in a strong and martial pace, the euphoric shouts of the boys stopped for a moment and changed into whispers of curiosity that tried to make sense of what they were looking at. A stranger and disciplined group of eight people in formation with white clothes and red stripes in the head, walking in a single line and directly towards where they were.
After some brief moments of hesitation, the excited and angry shouts of the tourists were now in the direction of our group, making us clear that they considered our presence to be a frank invasion of their territory. At those moments, there was no chance of turning back, and as we approached the reduced space that could make possible our passing through the aggressive tourists, their shouts increased in tonality and hostility until they became a true and nearby threat. it was also possible to perceive while walking and with the tip of the eye that two or three of the boys had taken the initiative to cross themselves in our trajectory to prevent us from walking through that spot.
I felt suddenly crushed by my own responsibility towards the group and in my whole nature was winning the idea to respond the imminent aggression in the best way I could to protect ourselves. Then it came powerfully to my attention the fact that the increasing shouts of the aggressive and euphoric tourists were disappearing slowly from my normal perception to give rise to the clear image of a woman of a high spirituality and unquestionable authority with her arm raised and signaling the “V” of victory in a massive and silent walk.
My surprise was huge when immediately after returning to my normal perception I became aware that we were doing the same, showing in a quiet gesture the signal of the victory with the left arm raised towards the group of tourists but without stopping the walk towards the front. Felix was almost arriving at the crucial point where three aggressive boys were waiting for us and the collision was imminent, when a beautiful girl interfered smoothly in their way pushing them softly to the side so that they yielded the reduced space to us.
- Let them pass, don’t be such obstinate clowns, – She said
- Yes, let them pass – other feminine voices coming from their group pointed out.
Just some few meters before we arrived at the crucial spot, the boys yielded the space reluctantly to us. This gave us the relief we needed to still turn around with our raised arms to see their faces that were surely changed by then because it was possible to see in all, even in the most aggressive ones, a mixture of curiosity and sadness, approval and disagreement.
Nevertheless, the most remarkable thing of the entire event was to perceive the strange silence that escorted us during a long time and as we moved away. The loud music disappeared completely. Our group of walkers have managed to pass a first test, helped with no doubt by spiritual forces far superior to the ones we humbly possessed, but that the honesty and purity of our own aspirations summoned irrevocably.
Headed for the town of Mother Mary
After three busy weeks with other activities, our group that decided in a previous and moving ceremony to adopt the name of “New Way”, returned to the precise spot where it had stopped its first long walk on the shore of the sacred lake. Now Natalia also joined us, excited by the story of the eventful journey of our first long walk.
Due to the ardent sun of summer, we initiated activities around nine in the morning to enjoy at least three to four hours with a little fresher temperature. The search of inner silence would be as always the goal to follow for the entire group. In this occasion, I will walk ahead of the single row of walkers as the guide, whereas Felix would walk at the rear to close the group and the single line. Without too many preparations and with lots of optimism we resumed the long walk through the humid sand of the shore of the sacred Lake.
Before starting off, and wanting to emulate our Grandfather of the North, I briefly and respectfully embraced each one of the nine members of our singular group. On a way that was unexpected, this small but honest ritual acted as a catalyst for the fast attainment of the inner silence that we all needed, because in just a few minutes, our entire group walked truly as a single being.
My only explanation to the surprising change we experimented was a fortuitous mixture of energies.
On one hand, the energy that came from the spirit of the lake and on the other, the energy coming from our Grandfather of the North that surely “felt” our loving ritual and sent his blessings for a task that he knew we would try and that he supported vehemently.
After a silent walk of a half an hour, I started perceiving with great clarity the peculiar sound of the flow of the tide that the waters of the shore produced constantly, with a species of constant and characteristic auditory pattern, as if the sound wanted to introduce me into a new insight that I had to know. I began to ask myself if my companions perceived the same, when I woke up then to the realization of my evident lack of internal silence; humbly, I immediately suspended all reasoning in the best way I could.
Like an almost instinctive reaction, I lifted my head upon the horizon, and after a few minutes of walk, a new and clear auditory perception returned, now of the rate that our steps were impressing, which little by little and inexplicably began to synchronize with the noise that the tide produced in the shore. As this happened I began to experience a species of euphoria that lasted a few moments to give way afterwards to a strange perception. Although I could not “see” the existing dirt just in front of us, I could feel that New Way acted like a detergent cleaning the dirt that was quite evident in some zones of the shore of this enormous body of water.
This perception filled me with joy because it confirmed that our humble effort was beginning to give some type of result. Although I also knew, the task was in its mere beginnings and vast in its proportions, and that certainly, much more than this initial effort was needed to be able to ritually, call the attention of the true guardians of the sacred lake.
Knowing about the magnitude of the efforts that we would have to put forth, New Way decided for this second stage to carry out a long walk throughout the whole day to advance as much as possible. However, we would take a forced break to eat and wait for the ardent sun of summer to lower a little its intensity during the afternoon.
After walking during the whole morning, and once the shaded site that would serve us as an eating spot was chosen, I decided to walk barefoot a little in the borders of the shore to try to refresh a little though the contact with the fresh water. I walked a few minutes through a zone full of bushes until I found a small zone shaded by the height of some shrubs that grew up from below the surface of the water.
Before the impossibility to seat, I remained standing and tried to rest my eyes by fixing them in any point of the horizon, immersed, as I was about 20 or 30 centimeters in the water. After moments of a pleasant freshness thanks to the shaded space, I began to experience a strange sensation of inner and outer peace as well as a strange certainty to be in a small space that was the center of everything. A central point from which everything came and towards which everything converged; perhaps a door towards another dimension, a complete and more beautiful dimension and, a dimension in which surely the spirit of the sacred lake dwelled constantly.
Everything flowed wonderfully in a delicious harmony around me and by precious moments, I sank in a pleasant internal silence, in which everything was peace and fullness.
I have no idea how long I was standing there, but according to Alicia it was more than twenty minutes, after which and when seeing me motionless at the distance for so long she decided to go to where I was to investigate about my strange immobility.
- Agustín, are you OK? – I heard her say, after, which for me were only a few minutes.
- By all means – why do you ask? – I answered a little confused after suddenly listening to the strange resonating echoes of a feminine voice.
- Well, because you have been there rigid for a long time, I thought that you were asleep there standing, like the horses – she said laughing.
Still without returning absolutely to my normal state of conscience, I was only able to say:
- Alicia, come and stand right here where I am – and saying this I stepped out from my spot to allow Alicia to occupy the same space in where I had been standing exactly.
- Agustín, she said, the others are already waiting for us to eat and frankly, I am very hungry – she objected
My strange stare must have had the desired effect that I waited for, because Alicia smiling stepped exactly in the spot I indicated on the water. Her smiling face transformed immediately into the pure image of absolute serenity. It did not surprise me at all and I respectfully stepped aside from her view allowing for the sacred spirit of the Lake to initiate a new and loving conversation.
It was already mid-afternoon when after a lengthy and refreshing rest and a good meal New Way reinitiated the long walk by the shore of Lake Chapala.
We had agreed to Natalia’s suggestion to keep on walking until the setting of the sun to advance as much as we could during the day.
We walked for several hours with great lightness and without any eventuality, enjoying a temperature a little more tempered towards the dusk. Nevertheless, the vegetation was changing drastically and we found constantly in our way high shrubs that sometimes prevented our advancing in a straight line and blocked our view to the front, being necessary to border them constantly from the inner side of the lake.
In spite of the prolonged drought that had been lowered in the region, the conditions of the ground by which now we walked were in that area quite humid, unstable and gummy, and in which we sank constantly.
The small members of our group were having their best moment of the day because losing constantly the balance and filling completely their clothing of mud amused them to no end.
The dusk was quickly ending and the constant detours that the dense vegetation had forced us to take had moved us too much inside the Sacred Lake in where we were frequently finding dangerous and rudimentary spiky wire fences that we had to cross constantly.
The spiky wire fences that had appeared all along the enormous shore of the lake were the product of the voracity of some people who wanted to take advantage of the new areas uncovered by the drought to farm and plant diverse products and to seize these new land extensions, for future use. They accomplished this simply by preventing the passage of the water if the level returned up to its previous level, building in front some improvised and illegal dams of brick stone and cement.
After an impressive and gorgeous spectacle in the sky arranged by the sunset that New Way perceived like our Mother Nature’s gift of the day for our efforts, an absolute darkness descended on the group in a few minutes, due to the absence of the moon that in those hours and by those days was not still on the horizon.
- Listen, we are in the dark and we have not arrived yet to the town of San Juan Cosalá, shouldn’t it be appearing already in our way by now? – asked Krista a little worried.
- Well yes, we should have arrived to the town already a while ago, I believe that we moved far away from the shore, while bordering as much shrubs as we did – Felix responded
- Let’s see, let us have a group meeting you all, come here and the children please do not go away, because we cannot see anything, and it is very swampy in the surroundings. Did somebody bring a lantern by chance? – I asked
The silence that followed indicated us that we had not considered the possibility of walking until past afternoon and less of being surprised by the dark of a night without a moon. Felix, the foresighted one of the group, brought an efficient gas lighter that we all saluted with joy. Immediately afterwards, Felix and I started a fast excursion to the marshes in search of dry shrubs to use to start a small fire.
The tension grew by the minute among the entire group due to the fatigue of a long journey and the prevailing and threatening dark. Once the small and unexpected bonfire was ready and our group already more organized and calmed before the surprising turn of events, I asked:
- What do you think if I go on a fast excursion to look for a secure and non-marshy way to return to the mainland? –
- I want potato chips – I could hear as an answer
- Who wants potato chips in a moment like this? – I asked surprised
- I want potato chips – little Vicente insisted
- No, I do not want potato chips, I want Fritos – Juanito took part
- Yees, Fritos – little Ignacio approved
The innocent insistence and spontaneous unconcern for our actual situation of these little ones showed us what really was important to them at those moments. These infantile occurrences caused sonorous outbursts of laughter in the entire group and contributed to dissipate the increasing tension that our worries had produced in us.
With certain reluctance, New Way agreed to my proposal of making a fast excursion in search of a safe route towards the mainland zone and the town that we knew it should be close by from where we were.
My plan was simple: Felix will remain with the rest of the group, while Rosana and I armed with the efficient gas lighter, would take a fast and short walk to estimate the prevailing conditions in the marshy land in which we were.
We just walked in a straight line some 50 meters towards where we considered the firm ground would be located when the swampy floor yielded materially under my feet, and I sank immediately until way above the knees.
- Rosana stop, this here is very unstable ground, and seems that I am sinking even more – I commented visibly worried –
- Agustín, do not move at all or you are going to sink even faster – Rosana answered, while at the same time taking off with great speed the long red stripe that adorned her head and throwing one of its ends to where I was.
- Now, little by little, and very slowly, start leaning on the stripe and take out first one foot from the mud and then the other – she commanded
- Agustín, what are you doing? – She asked a little upset, trying to hide her evident concern with what just happened to me. – If you think that you are going to be able to leave that mud pit walking, you don’t know what is coming to you, this way you are sinking more – she added
- Your only way out of there is crawling in the mud first and then removing a foot little by little one at a time, or what? Are you afraid to cover with mud your pretty face? –
When I listened to her last comment, I was just about to lose my battle against the fear I was feeling due to my progressive collapse in a mud pit that sucked me down at every moment. Nevertheless, I don’t know why at those moments her remarks seemed to me surprisingly funny and I began to laugh with sonorous outbursts at the time that I followed her instructions to the letter dragging myself materially out of the mud pond that surrounded me.
Attracted and amused partly by my chuckles and following in the dark the sonorous signs that these produced, Alicia, Krista and Natalia opportunely arrived to where we were just in time to help Rosana in the task of removing me from my embarrassing situation.
Even though with the aid of Rosana and thanks to an enormous effort of my part, I had already managed to remove my right leg from the mud trap in which I plunged, the merging of Krista, Alicia and Natalia, helped to achieve the awaited result and in a few minutes, I was out of danger.
After barely standing up and still unstable due to a mixture of fatigue, emotional wear and the loss of a shoe, I began receiving a cascade of claims coming from the four female warriors to whom I owed at those moments my freedom and well-being.
-We told you Agustín, but you never listen, you always want to do your own will – Alicia said laughing when she saw me completely covered with mud -
- I hope he will listen from now on, although I don’t think so because he is very stubborn – affirmed Krista moving her head from side to side and showing an ample smile.
- Wow Agustín, you are something else, look at you now – Natalia commented when she looked at me with the aid of the gas lighter.
Only Rosana was silent, struggling to contain her laughter.
I immediately understood that I was in front of four implacable female warriors, to whom I certainly owed my freedom. And the only thing that crossed my mind at those moments was to embrace them with respect, one by one to thank them for the gesture they had with my person, forgetting completely that I was covered from head to toes of water and mud.
When we returned to the improvised bonfire, we found Felix seated in the ground and eating animatedly with the three small children chips and Fritos. A second round of laughter was now coming from Felix and the children when they saw the muddy state in which the five of us arrived.
Just at that moment and when we began to mention the recent and unexpected event, we heard sonorous strokes of a bell that originated in a spot that could not be very distant and located towards the left of where we were.
- Is the first call for the mass of eight p.m.! – The town of Mother Mary should not be that far – we arrived already! – Felix shouted pleased
After a fast group meeting in which I decided to keep a prudent and respectful silence, we decided to go in a straight line through the dense dark towards the place from where we heard the bell strokes. We trusted that the second and third calls to the mass of eight would help us to correct the course, in case of turning aside of the route.
This way, we would be going directly towards the heart of the town of Mother Mary because in there was her church surely located.
Alicia proposed – and her motion was quickly accepted – that during the walk we prayed fervently to ask for the aid of our Mother Mary/that in Mexico is widely known as Guadalupe, its sweet and powerful protector feminine Deity. Immediately afterwards and without losing a moment, we directed ourselves in the direction agreed.
Hurrying our steps and in between fervent prayers, we managed to advance in the dark and with the weak light of the efficient gas lighter of Felix, who was of enormous utility to detect with anticipation the numerous spiky wire fences which we were crossing. The second and third calls to mass, which were possible to listen more and more near us, were of invaluable aid to correct the deviations of the course that we inadvertently took during our almost blinded walk towards the town.
Finally, after some endless twenty minutes, we could observe at the distance the first lights of the town, and found a firm secondary road that lead to the town of San Juan Cosalá in a straight line and completely free of high shrubs and mud. We had arrived!
We surely presented a phantasmagoric spectacle as nine muddy walkers to the residents of the town of San Juan Cosalá. Passing through one of the streets in front of the Church filled with a numerous group of persons going into the mass, caused among them an enormous curiosity, because we listened to expressions such as, where are you coming from boys? Is everything OK? Do you need help?
Knowing it was not possible to give too many explanations at those moments we thanked the gestures of affection assuring the friendly worshippers that we were fine. Then we rushed our steps towards the highway, because we still had to walk back in the middle of the night to return to the same spot where we had left our car parked at the starting point of the journey.
Natalia was all smiles. A new full day of unexpected adventures had concluded successfully for New Way in the sacred lake.
The third journey took us walking to Chapala, the most recognized town of the shore of Lake Chapala, which still uses its old Nahuatl name that comes from the Nahuatl word chapallan or chapalac that means “the town where the crickets float in the water.” Historians consider that towards the XII century A.D. tribes of Nahuatl origin that came to this region from the northwest of Mexico founded it.
The outstanding factor of this journey was the enormous heat and dry atmosphere that we had to endure, due to the ardent sun and the high temperature characteristic of the drought that in those days was already very long lasting for the entire region. Due to this situation, Alicia, Felix and I had to alternate carrying the children materially in our shoulders, the last segments of our walking.
This situation caused a strong emotional impact in New Way, due to the obvious recognition that we faced a challenge that would surely require efforts beyond everything we anticipated or perhaps even superior to our humble possibilities. The drought did not yield, nor existed any indications that in the future this could happen. Perhaps by the sunstroke or the desperation when our journey ended I commented:
- I believe that nobody is listening to us; there are deaf ears to our requests, what are we doing wrong? – I believe that
- Agustín wait, this is the solution! – Alicia interrupted – what happens is that somehow we have not spoken sufficiently loud, or nor clear enough but
- Loud and clear, of course! Actually, I know exactly from where we will be able to do it – Krista said excited
- But… What are you people talking about? I believe that what we need is to pay a visit to the authorities of the town to ask for their help – commented Tomás
- No Tomás, that is not something that we are called to do. Remember that we are working here in a task of spiritual ecology, we are neither politicians nor lobbyists and to those who we must request their aid is to the Guardians of the Sacred Lake, and certainly, I do not believe they work in the city council – Natalia added
Felix and I interchanged glances of disagreement and confusion.
As it always happened in those cases, Krista took the rod to clarify the way for us to follow, which was to her understanding quite simple. It was necessary to climb the highest hill of the locality, and from that special place and on a ritual way, to make our humble request to the Guardians who we knew existed in the sacred Lake.
Exactly two weeks later, in a sunny Sunday, we had decided to make a quick visit to the town “where the crickets float in the water”, to give exact fulfillment to the proposal approved by consensus of “speaking loud and clear” to be somehow listened by the Indigenous guardians of the sacred Lake.
It was a special day due to the luminosity displayed in a sky without a single cloud, which surely anticipated another day with high temperatures.
The hill of San Miguel dominates from immemorial times the old shore of the sacred Lake where Chapala, the best-known town of the sacred Lake is located, being now highly populated in its lower hills by humble houses self-constructed by the low income segments of regional immigrants that have been arriving to this region.
The task of the day was to hike up to its top, and perform there a ritual petition of help and the sooner the better, due to the high prevailing temperatures. In this occasion, Paloma also joined us, being her enthusiastic contribution to the energy of New Way always one of a refreshing joy and a high spirituality.
With Krista ahead, Alicia, Felix, Paloma, Tomás, Natalia, the three small children, Rosana and myself, we started enthusiastic the ascent through the stony streets that raised up winding incredibly between the constructed houses in the steep skirts of the hill. I was with the task to close the group in formation. A little above and having left back the last houses, it was possible to find an open path made of rustic stone stairs that disappeared by sections between the dense prevailing vegetation.
Once in those stairs, Paloma silently indicated to the group the exact place where on the side of the path was the skin of a rattlesnake, left by its occupant not long ago; this event caused a profound impact in all, due to two recent comments that came up in our last group meeting.
The first, originating from Krista. In the sense that any event that fortuitously appears before a group during the accomplishment of works of a sacred type, has a deep meaning in itself. And the second, originating from Felix, – and which constituted the key to understand the message of this event for New Way – when he remembered one of the recommendations of our spiritual guide during the last visit we paid him in Mexico city. He said, “Any work of a sacred type and with ritual characteristics that may be attempted, will have necessarily to come altogether with an authentic change of skin spiritually speaking of the participants in it”. This, if the work is going to have at least some type of power effectiveness; otherwise, its development would be a loss of time and it could even be dangerous for its participants, due to the handling of the powerful energies that are always present in any sacred place.
The journey continued with a relatively fresh ascent due to the early hour and to the fact that the high and dense vegetation of the place filtered the solar rays considerably. Although it was taking us more time than we anticipated at first to arrive at the cross that crowned the hill due to the steep characteristics of the ascent and that we had to take all the precautions needed to avoid that our three small and overexcited little ones ran off the road on us.
At the end of about thirty minutes of steep ascent and in spite of the prevailing freshness, we all sweated abundantly. The last fifteen minutes of ascent were of a great utility because during that last part of the hike and due to the concentration and effort that the climb was requiring from us, New Way reached a good degree of internal silence, which would be very useful in the ritual that was about to begin.
The last steps of the steep stone stairs disappeared alongside the dense vegetation announcing the end of our ascent. An enormous white cross was our first visual perception once we reached the top of the hill of San Miguel. Our second immediate impression was the strong and fresh breeze that was blowing in the place.
We could see a big portion of the sacred Lake from the top of the Hill of San Miguel and a fresh breeze blowing from who knows where, because no cloud appeared yet in the horizon refreshed us all.
Krista, sensing what the wind was communicating, decided against her custom, to leave the group all the control of the ritual for which we had climbed laboriously for more than forty five minutes, limiting herself to salute the wind with joy and embracing it with her arms. Immediately afterwards, she went to the enormous white cross and kissed its base with respect. Before our cautious stares Krista smiled to the entire group and watching me directly she only said:
- Agustín –
After pronouncing my name, Krista found a fresh shade and seated, not very far from the enormous white cross.
I frankly had no idea what to do, or how to lead the ritual, and only limited myself to enjoy the freshness of the breeze and the magnificence of the spectacle we had before our eyes. Then, and like wanting to attest my total lack of concentration in the sacred and my indulgence in the enjoyable that to the senses were the breeze and the view, the wind stopped completely. Almost immediately, we felt a strange and impressive silence, which completely extinguished any originating noise from the town below.
Perfectly conscious of the importance of the moment and perhaps for that reason, all my being was a mixture of confusion by not knowing what type of ritual to try, and astonishment by having witnessed the clear testimony of one of the sacred elements, of approval for our presence and disagreement simultaneously before our inexperience. In vain, I looked with the glance for the aid of some of the members of New Way because we all were experiencing the same mixture of confusion and astonishment, except for Krista, who smiled pleased.
The silence was already overwhelming, when at that moment we all could listen:
- Hey lake, we need you to get well, eh, mmhh, and yeees! –
It was the smallest member of New Way, Juanito, which shouted through all his lungs his infantile request.
Next, we could listen:
- Yes, get well lake get weeeeell! –
- Get well soooooon! –
- Yeees Yeees! -
They were Ignacio and Vicente, who immediately followed Juanito with more requests. Once finished the first volley of infantile and sonorous requests, the last of them completed in unison by the three small ones, the wind reassumed its activity, as if wanting to answer gladly to the innocence and purity of those infantile occurrences.
There was no more doubt left in my mind because this was the right way and the adequate ritual to call the attention of the guardians of the Lake. The simplest and for that reason more effective of them all: shouting through all our lungs and from our opened hearts, our purer intentions by the well-being of the sacred Lake.
Consequently, I united immediately to the infantile voices shouting with all my strength and all my being:
- Get well soooooon! – - Get well soooooon! –
Once I finished, I backed down some steps with respect when noticing that Felix waited for its turn:
- Get weeeeeeell! – - Sacred Lake, get weeeeeeell! – He shouted
Then followed in turn Paloma, Rosana, Tomás, Alicia, Natalia and Krista whose eyes overflowed joy and approval. Once concluded the individual requests and in a very spontaneous way, New Way formed an ample circle around the big white cross and after brief moments in which taken by the hands we watched ourselves mutually, we sent an unisonous, uproarious and magnificent.
- Get weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell! –
Once again, the answer of one of the sacred guardians of the Lake appeared immediately, confirming receipt of the humble but powerful – because it came from the most secret site of our hearts – collective request that we just formulated. Because once we finished, drained by the collective emotion and when we were on the verge of loosen the hands to brake the circle thus formed, a powerful gust of wind materially rocked New Way, forcing the group to raise the hands still interlaced towards the sky.
Immediately afterwards, the wind stopped completely. It was the unequivocal sign that the ritual had concluded successfully. In ritual formation, in absolute silence and with the satisfaction that overwhelmed us because we knew that we were listened, we initiated the descent. One more journey had concluded.
Lake Chapala has two islands known for hundreds of years. The first, located just in front of the town of Chapala named Scorpions’ island or isla de los alacranes. This one receives most visitors due to its proximity with Chapala, the best well-known town of the sacred Lake. And the second, named Mezcala island or isla de Mezcala is less visited and somewhat mysterious, and was the site in the past of a military prison that no longer exists like so. Mezcala Island is located in front of one of the oldest towns of the shore of the sacred lake, whose inhabitants are descendants and have among them elders and guardians of the old traditions and ways of life of the Nahuatl nation. Some of these tribes settled in Chapala Lake before the arrival of the conquistador Hernan Cortes to Mexican lands.
In the Island of Mezcala, brilliant and heroic pages of the Mexican history took place during the period from 1812 to 1816. In that period, the Spanish army attacked the island and the indigenous population of Mezcala led by Jose Santana defended it heroically. Jose Santana, supported the insurgent movement that aimed for the independence of México from Spain, and brilliantly resisted the constant attacks of the Spanish Navy and Army. This until the point to force the Spaniards to look for a pacific negotiation with the insurgents to avoid more humiliations before their inability to win even though they had a crushing war equipment and a numerical superiority.
New Way decided to visit scorpions’ Island as soon as possible. In part, because we all felt already the need to make a more direct contact with the liquid surface of the lake, and the energy of the water, through which if we were silent enough, it would be possible to establish some type of communication with Rapavilleme, the powerful spirit of the Sacred Lake.
With the aim to follow thus its directives and suggestions for the happy conduction of the work of spiritual ecology that we had initiated.
Our group visit to Scorpions’ Island had several surprises, pleasant and not so pleasant. The first and not very pleasant surprise for a group like ours was the astronomical price that we had to pay for the rent of the overboard boat and the exclusive services of the boatman or lanchero who took us to and brought us back from the Island.
In order to obtain a reduced price it was necessary for our group to wait until the boatman finished its hired trips of the day, so he could take us at the end of the afternoon as his last trip to the Island.
The following and not so pleasant surprise was to witness the enormous distance that now separated the water surface of the sacred Lake from the shore levee, which just twenty-five years ago was overflowing with water.
In order to arrive to the improvised dock for the boats, it was necessary to step down more than twenty steps from the surface of the old levee or malecon towards the sandy surface of the dry bed of what it was in the past an overflowing body of water. From there, we took a ride in a light truck, which after minutes of traveling by the dusty surface left us finally in the zone of the improvised dock. Once in the dock, we had to walk the last meters that separated us from our boat on some sand bags set up as an irregular floor on the marshy surface.
The Island of the Scorpions’ constitutes a ceremonial and spiritual center of the Huichol indigenous nation that according to their sacred history left from this point after the last universal flood to populate the mountainous areas of Jalisco and Nayarit states. The trip on the boat was very pleasant and paradoxically full of peace and inner silence, which we knew was due to the contact with the spirit of the sacred Lake.
The following and now pleasant surprise this time, was to watch the enormous devotion of the peasants and patrons of the Island – full of small restaurants of white fish and stores of curiosities – towards our Mother Mary/Guadalupe, tutelary deity and protector of the Mexican nation and whose altars arose everywhere.
Finally, and after a brief tour by the island, Krista located an excellent place, in which she conducted a beautiful ritual of loving dedication of our work in and for the Sacred Lake to the Great Spirit who animates it all. The end of the day was approaching and the return in the boat to the town of Chapala was again full of internal peace and satisfaction for our group.
We were the last boat that left the island that day and without a doubt, we knew ourselves accepted by the lake, which smiled to us through a sunset with a spectacular multicolor symphony.
We returned to the sacred lake after three weeks, not without deliberating on the best course of action for the huge trajectory that we needed still to walk to complete the first sacred circle in the enormous circumference that constituted the shore that bordered the sacred Lake.
After a short exploratory trip by land that took us beyond and to the east of the town of Chapala, it was possible to state that the terrain on that shore was impassable due to its enormous shrubs, mud and dangerous marshes. It was as if the lake had built a gigantic sponge as a spontaneous mechanism of self-protection that extended for many kilometers and around its entire eastward zone before the drought.
This discovery forced us to take the decision to continue our journey bordering the shore of the lake through the water. This meant that we needed to have the necessary resources to pay for the services of a lanchero who would take us the remaining journeys throughout the sacred Lake by boat.
This was not an easy feat to accomplish due to our reduced monetary resources and to the fact that in our naive enthusiasm we were working in other tasks of spiritual ecology simultaneously in other regions of our country.
With this scenario, and armed with lots of enthusiasm and with the lean communal savings of three weeks, we undertook the task “of finding” in the dockside of Chapala a future honorary member for New Way. One who could understand our noble task and show some compassion offering us a good price for the totality of the remaining journeys we needed to accomplish by boat in the near future and in the Lake.
After three hours of unfruitful interviews with several lancheros, which did not seem to understand the characteristics of our work in favor of the sacred Lake, that did not have – at least for us – the eagerness of a tourist trip, we initiated the return from the levee walking among the sand bags that constituted the improvised dock. We were a little discouraged before the somber perspective to stop at least for some time the work in the sacred lake until we were able to collect the exorbitant amounts of money that apparently we would need to carry on with our work.
I just finished telling Alicia that it would perhaps be a good idea to search for a special spot in the shore to pray and to request spiritual aid, when we all listened to a sonorous and cheerful:
- Are you looking for me? –
Almost in front of us was a tall man of about forty years of age and robust complexion, who introduced himself:
- My name is Antonio, I am a boatman, and one of my companions told me about you people, I could help you –
- My boat named the Santa Maria, is ready to go to wherever you say, I believe that we can make a deal –
Wow! Here in this place the prayers are answered immediately – commented surprised Tomás
We all we laughed willingly. Immediately afterwards, Alicia who was our spontaneous treasurer and an excellent negotiator, started negotiations with Don Antonio, who, after a small give and take became a part of New Way as an honorary member, sealing his association with our peculiar group with a joyful handshake.
One week later, New Way returned early morning to its first appointment with Don Antonio who was already waiting in the Santa Maria with one of his small children in the improvised dock on the shore of “the town where the crickets float in the water”. His son would help him in this occasion with all the necessary chores for the suitable control of his boat.
The previous day, Felix and I traveled by highway about 60 kilometers to the east of our departure point with the intention to leave one of our cars parked in Ocotlan, our destination. This way we could secure our return by highway at the end of the journey, which we hoped would take us by boat as far as that industrial city, the largest of the lake and located in the Far East end of its shore.
Partly due to our thin budget, and considering that this journey in the water was not going to be long enough, we had decided to pass away the Island of Mezcala. Not making a stop also in the town of Mezcala located just in front of the island, will allow us to arrive still with the light of day at our projected destiny, the city of Ocotlan. This was at least what we had decided in our last group meeting.
The drought that was taking place in all the enormous region of the West of Mexico continued, on spite of the summer that was on the verge of finishing. Nobody knew when these abnormal meteorological conditions could change for the better.
This situation had worried many farmers and their retailers a great deal, and they were announcing millionaire losses in their harvests and upcoming future negotiations to ask for governmental aid if the weather didn’t improve in the short term.
With a good ration of water, hats and lots of sun blocker lotion to endure the intense heat and the ardent rays of the sun that surely would reflect with intensity in the water surface of the sacred Lake, we initiated early morning one more journey of our route. Once in the lake, we quickly left behind the island of the Scorpions. After more than one hour of traveling on the Santa Maria when we already saw at the distance the silhouette of the Mysterious Island, we began to feel a refreshing breeze and soon we were under the shade of several clouds that were crowding around at the distance, more or less in direction of the Island of Mezcala.
At first, we thought these would be some fleeting clouds, situation that we all welcomed because thanks to its shade the surrounding temperature refreshed a little. However, there was something strange in that peculiar formation because the clouds seemed stationary a little to the right of the Island. In addition, it gave us also the impression that they grew constantly.
- Hey! Don Antonio did you saw that? – I asked
Don Antonio remained in silence some brief moments that seemed eternal and at last, he answered:
-.I do not like this one bit, we must return and the sooner the better –
Before the general displeasure, especially of the small ones, Alicia said: – but Don Antonio, this is only one small rain, awaited with anxiety by all the inhabitants of the lake; I rather believe it is a blessing –
Don Antonio without taking the eyes from the strange and fast evolution of the cloudy formation, and showing in its face an enormous concern mentioned:
- This is no providential rain, this is a “tribunada” and nobody leaves these alive, we are going back right now.
- Good, but at least explain to us what it is a “tribunada” – asked Felix with curiosity.
- I have never experienced them in the water, but I have seen them evolving from the shore, and I have had friends who have drowned in them. The tide becomes crazy and it does not let a single boat leave from the water because the winds begin to blow from all sides with force raising great waves, and there is no one that can stay afloat –
When hearing his explanation, I remembered to have read not long ago that from time to time whirlwinds have appeared as small tornadoes that sometimes have touched on the sacred lake; sucking all kinds of objects from the lake in the air, even those that are in their depths. These events have made the historians seriously consider the presence of ancient settlements in its bottom, because they have found ceramic with strange characteristics resurfaced by these meteorological phenomena and deposited in populations located many kilometers away from the sacred Lake and even on the other side of the high mountains that border Lake Chapala.
In those reflections I found myself when I listened to a unisonous – Hey, look! Shouted by the entire group that forced me to turn around and look at the heights. The spectacle was impressive; the amorphous cloudy formation had become now an enormous and black cloud that lowered gradually and in several concentric circles until almost touching the surface of the water to a mere three kilometers of where we were.
Simultaneously, a heavy curtain of water felt only as a small rain at the beginning had reached us already. Now, converted into a storm with great winds that dangerously rocked the boat in all directions, forcing Krista and Alicia to hold the children to prevent them from falling into the lake by the influence of a surge of waves that began to worry us very seriously.
The message was clear enough; it was not possible to go to the other side nor beyond the Mysterious Island, at least not at the moment.
Don Antonio had tried with his son’s help to turn back towards the town of Chapala, but due to the strong winds, the high waves and the strong rain that already whipped us from everywhere he desisted from its attempts considering this maneuver even more dangerous than simply continuing straight ahead.
With a voice that showed its anxiety and nervousness but simultaneously with a great assurance he exclaimed:
- We have only one chance at this, and no other choice. We are going to disembark in the island of Mezcala as soon as we can. Hold on tight because I must change my course and accelerate the boat. We do not have much time left –
Hardly after Don Antonio announced its decision to change direction and take us to the Island, the weather that shattered us from all directions diminished a little bit. It allowed us to disembark and to secure the boat the best we could in the north tip of the Island of Mezcala, and in the middle of an intense rain that forced us to take refuge in several groups immediately and under some enormous rocks that we found in the perimeter.
Once curled up underneath the rocks and with the aid of several plastics that Don Antonio always carried in its boat, we waited with patience for the end of the storm.
What followed next was a true concert of thunders and lightning that seemed to resound through all sides.
As I listened, I was getting the strange impression that the sky was transmitting us a message that we needed to decipher if we wanted to finish in good standing a day that we merely had begun and that would have to take us still farther away. Once we listened to the resounding of the last thunderclap and in a very strange way, the rain stopped completely and little by little, the scattered group met in the center of the small and stony beach in which we had disembarked.
We all surrounded Don Antonio to express him our admiration and gratefulness for its experience before the rudder and for the fast and effective way in which he took us away from an imminent danger. The Spirit of the Lake had not been mistaken when he sent Don Antonio to our aid.
Alicia thought that since we were in the Island, we could visit it briefly, because nobody in the group have been there, and without any more explanations she started climbing up with the small ones, Juanito, Ignacio and Vicente on a path that goes to the top of the island. The rest of the group followed her at some distance. Don Antonio and his son decided to wait instead, preparing the boat to start as soon as we returned.
When ascending by the small path behind Felix, I couldn’t help noticing on the speed upon which the climatic conditions were changing again. It was as if all the clouds were being aspired by a giant vacuum cleaner, since in just a few minutes we started to feel an intense heat and the rays of an ardent sun returned to fall now heavily on our heads in a blue sky with no clouds.
In those reflections I was engaged when the shouts of Alicia and the children took me by surprise when I saw them going back down and slipping almost through the slope, just on my side and with an enormous speed.
-Ants, do not go up, there are ants – I was able to listen
Krista, Rosana, Felix and I could not contain our laughter before the comic turn of the situation, and also Don Antonio and his son, whom had to rush to the side to allow the small group to enter into the water to have their feet wet and get rid of their crawling ants.
Given the new and amusing turn of events, all New Way met in the shore of the Mysterious Island again to regroup forces and to decide the immediate course of action, since the weather had returned to normality. I considered that the moment was appropriate to ask:
- What did you guys thought of the thunderclaps? –
Before the silence that I received as an answer, I hurried to clarify:
- What I mean is that to me it gave the impression that the sacred lake was saying something to us, a few moments a go when we were underneath the stones – don’t you think? –
- Those were the guardians – added Krista.
Felix and Rosana nodded in agreement, and according to the custom when Krista started to speak, we all listened with attention:
- They were giving us a hard time – Krista continued, – because we had decided to pass the island away without visiting a very important power center of the lake, perhaps the most important one, in our eagerness to travel great distances by boat in a short period of time.
- We acted like tourists – she added – and not one bit thankful and respectful of their sacred places and of the needed rituals that we have to perform in our pilgrimage. Remember that we have been walking in search of those who have the spiritual power to heal the sacred Lake and not in a tourist ride –
- Then, is this a gateway? – I asked
- Was it not clear through the nice and harmless little cloud that stepped in our way and prevented us to go ahead? – Intervened Felix accurately, and we all laughed willingly.
- Here are guardians of great power who are not going to let to us pass if we don’t have a gesture towards them, presenting humbly our respects to them; what we just lived this last hour was simply a demonstration of their power. Don’t you guys consider very strange that the weather turned from normal to terrible as we approached the island, and suddenly improved a little when we decided to change our course to the Island and returned to its previous state with an enormous speed once we were in the island? –
- But, then why they didn’t allow us go up to explore the Island? – Asked Alicia with curiosity – you saw Krista how the ants stopped the children and me, It is clear that they do not want to us there above –
- Of course, because the guardians are not here, they are there, answered Krista pointing with her index the nearby town of Mezcala de la Asuncion that was right in front of the Island of Mezcala were we stood –
- Then it is settled, and if everybody agrees, let’s set our course to the town of the guardians! – I commented warmly.
In unison we all turned around to see Don Antonio, who with his son had been silent during our conversation and now was scratching his head visibly disoriented before what he was hearing; nevertheless, and recovering his habitual good spirit he commented:
- Well, I don’t really understand anything of what you are saying, but going to the town serves me well, I know there some fishermen friends who can lend me a little gasoline. With the storm, the boat spent more than I thought it would and it is important for us to bring sufficient fuel for the day if we want to arrive at our destination –
- Do not take too much time on what you have to do, – he warned – because we still have a long way to go by boat and the time we have today is just enough of what we need to arrive with daylight. Here in the water once the sun goes down it becomes very dangerous to be inside the Lake –
Once we disembarked in the town, and agreed to return to Don Antonio’s boat in maximum one hour, Krista speed up the pace by one of the streets of the beautiful town that lead to the main square. Founded in 1280, and currently with 9,000 inhabitants, the old town of Mezcala de la Asunción or “the place of mezcales” is among tall and steep mountains that protect it to the north and that give it certainly a peculiar and mysterious air.
With lots of curiosity and a little surprised by the inexhaustible resources of our indomitable elder Krista who already directed herself towards one of the streets of the town, and reaching her with great steps I asked her straightforwardly:
- Do you also know the guardians of this town? –
- Of course not Agustín – she laughed pleased, – but I know the sacred symbols that are the object of their veneration, and I believe that the less that we can do is to visit them and to pray a little before them trying to connect as a group with their energy. I am sure that their representatives will be observing us and if their report on us is good, they will let us continue without misfortunes. -
- And how we will know if their report is good? – I insisted
- We will not know it until we are again in the water – she laughed
Seeing my face of confusion, Rosana commented with an ample smile:
- Well, well Agustín, you think too much and right now to think will not help you at all.
The comment of Rosana helped me to understand somehow that the silence would be the weapon that we would try to use as a group to establish a conscious connection with the characteristic energy of the place, and “to be baptized” by the same energy, as well. If we were able to make it, everything would go well the rest of our day. Conscious of my responsibility towards the group, I kept a respectful silence. Krista guided us quickly to the Central Square of the town in which in one of its sides was located a beautiful and completely white painted church, the catholic church of la Asunción. At the very moment at which New Way entered the central square of the town of the guardians, an intense and sudden gust of wind came upon us for a brief lapse.
Immediately afterwards, the entire group followed Krista walking around the small town square several times and I could not avoid to think that our always foresighted elder, was attempting with this action to give us “the necessary activation” for the attainment of the minimal degree of internal silence that we needed for our ritual work.
Being aware that there were no recent rain signals in the entire town and that the weather disturbance that lowered on us was only for our group was the last thought that fleeting crossed my mind before I achieved some degree of inner silence. After about twenty minutes of discreet walk around the main square, we entered the church.
The freshness we perceived in the interior of the Church of “La Asunción” – that lodges one of the most beautiful altars that I have been lucky to observe – was like an unexpected and welcomed balsam for all of us. This and the special and silent alertness acquired thanks to the preparatory walk, helped us to quickly synchronize our prayers, which were guided with great devotion by Rosana who always impressed us with her high spirituality.
Once we finished our prayers, the three small members of New Way initiated with all spontaneity a series of requests for the recovery of the sacred lake, as well as moving expressions of gratefulness for all the benefits received in our journeys but especially for the adventures enjoyed by them, candidly requesting these could continue ceaselessly.
Once outside the church, we remained some brief moments united in silence and respectful observation of certain sacred symbols located in one of its flanks. Then, we undertook full of energy and inner peace the return to the spot where Don Antonio and his son awaited for us ready to restart our journey in the small town dock.
As soon as he saw us arrive and a little surprised Don Antonio joked:
- Where did you go? You look red like shrimps, where you too long under the sun?
His remark was the answer that we needed to continue with tranquility the rest of our day, because apparently “we had been baptized” with the necessary energy and the necessary contact with the elder guardians was set up.
The rest of our aquatic journey passed without any eventuality for a space of two hours, during which the Santa Maria and her occupants leaving back town and Island, sailed the limpid and clear mirror that the sacred lake had become now, showing us all the beauty that lodged in their most isolated corners with endless multicolor reflections. The dusk was approaching quickly, and our animated conversation went diminishing little by little when we noticed that Don Antonio made several and unfruitful approach maneuvers trying to find the only channel that allowed the access to the docks of the Industrial City of Ocotlán in that isolated region of the east of the Sacred Lake. Among kilometers and kilometers of marsh, the only thing that appeared before our sight was an immense extension of reed beds and marshy shrubs.
To make matters worse, the last rays of the sun were disappearing in the horizon behind the distant mountains of the west shore, and we could perceive already a fast reduction in the temperature of our surroundings. Don Antonio, who already was quite nervous announced:
- If we don’t find the channel soon, we are going to have to look for an alternative place to disembark near here because we do not have sufficient gasoline to return –
- Well, Don Antonio, and forgive me for asking, – said Alicia a little disconcerted – but are you not supposed to know the way to enter into the channel of the industrial city? –
- Yes – he answered, – I inquired with some fishermen on how to access into the channel, but I never have come this far bringing people, this is my first time –
The alternative to disembark already late at night in an unknown and marshy place, and to start looking for some way that could lead us to the industrial city between the dense vegetation was not very encouraging to say the least. We could hardly see by now the water mirror with clarity and the first lights of the towns located on the immense shore of the Sacred Lake were making its gradual appearance.
Quickly and in silence, I verified that all the occupants of the boat, including Don Antonio, were dressing its life-jackets to be prepared against any eventuality that could appear, since by moments, the small boat seemed to get itself stuck in the dense aquatic vegetation that arose everywhere near the shore.
The expectant and tense silence that we all kept, impotent before the fast disappearance of the clarity of the day, was quickly dissipated by Alicia who with all naturalness organized a rosary of prayers in honor of the sweet and powerful mother of the Tepeyac, the queen and tutelary deity of Mexico, Mother Mary of Guadalupe. Soon, the rumor of the fervent prayers of the members of New Way joined the whirr of the motor of Don Antonio’s boat.
This new fact helped Don Antonio to recover its lost presence of mind, renewing immediately his search of the entrance channel through a new route. After about seven minutes of constant prayers, we heard in the distance a new and distant buzz. Don Antonio, who by then was the pure image of mental concentration, immediately detected the sound with a jubilant exclamation:
- Look, we found it! –
Around five hundred meters to our left and with the last glow of the sunset we watched a motor boat that was barely perceptible making its appearance by the entrance channel and coming inside the Lake.
Immediately, and among the jubilant screams of the members of New Way, Don Antonio maintained course at full speed in a straight line towards the boat that had made its opportune appearance.
When we finally passed next to the providential boat, the fishermen’ who were in it did not understand our effusive samples of affection and gratefulness sent at the distance by the happy occupants of the Santa Maria. Don Antonio simply followed the stir that the boat had left in its way, to find with great ability the channel that would take to us to the end of our journey.
Among cheers and songs in honor to Mother Mary/Guadalupe and hurrahs to Don Antonio and his son, the Santa Maria tied up finally in the dock of the industrial city. Some of their relatives who lived in the city and with whom Don Antonio would spend the night, were already waiting for a long time and showed immediately a great relief when they saw us arrive way behind schedule but safe and sound to our destiny.
After giving thanks and paying Don Antonio and his son for its excellent services and saying goodbye, we directed ourselves to the place where Felix had left his car parked the previous day. In a few minutes, we were on our way squeezed but happy, and driving back to the small house nested in the mountains that surrounded Lake Chapala and that constituted our headquarters.
The spontaneous singing, and the laughter and constant anecdotes that the members of New Way were again savoring on our way back were the last memories that I have of that memorable day; moments later, I was sound asleep.
The Town from where the Moon rises
Our next aquatic journey took us to cross a new segment of the enormous southeast shore of Lake Chapala, until disembarking in Tizapán, “the town by where the moon rises out in the sky during the night”, a gorgeous village located in the South region of the shore of the sacred Lake. Among the most outstanding and funny situations of the day was the fact that Alicia, Juanito, Felix, Natalia and myself were erroneously taken by religious missionaries from the United States coming to evangelize the town. As well as by the fast reaction that the son of Don Antonio had in the Santa Maria while cruising in the lake, introducing its hand in the water to grab one of the shoes of Juanito that he had thrown overboard before the approval of the small ones Ignacio and Vicente and the glance of terror of Alicia.
New Way concluded without greater eventualities with a journey that we considered successful by the smooth ride and the fresh breeze that accompanied the Santa Maria throughout the whole way. This occasion perhaps announced we were close to obtain our yearned goal of communion and contact with the most intimate and hidden essence of the powerful spirit of the sacred lake.
Although nobody mentioned it, that was the secret shouted silently from our hearts. Far I was to imagine the extraordinary experience that I would live in our next and last journey, which would take us to return to our point of departure. Initiated many journeys back and that would complete the first sacred circle around our dear Lake Chapala.
We spent almost one hour in fervent prayers within the beautiful church of Tizapán to give thanks for the peaceful journey accomplished. In addition, between songs, and laughter we enjoyed an authentic feast thanks to some delicious “chayotes” that were freely given to us by the amiable inhabitants of the town of Tizapán. Then, we went away in a town bus tired but happy and with course to our small headquarters house located in the other side of the Sacred Lake and within its mountains of the north shore. This way New Way concluded a beautiful, pacific and successful day.
It was Saturday night and New Way’s headquarters located in the mountains of the northern shore of the sacred Lake was already a blessed place. All its members were present and although there was enormous excitation and joy, community praying and gathering was the leading mood.
You could sense in the air and in everything on our beautiful natural surroundings, an enormous expectancy and the sacred lake stood immersed in a comforting peace and a quiet hope.
The exact same feeling existed in our hearts, and we all quietly shared the intuition that something great and beautiful was about to happen in the sacred Lake.
The weekend initiated for New Way with the ritual ascent of a mountain located half way between the city of Guadalajara and the west shore of the lake. Visited frequently by numerous pilgrimages, this special place commemorates the ritual sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, who had fused in his being the manifestation of a sublime, indescribable and powerful spiritual energy of light and love for the benefit, guide and protection of humanity.
Silence and constant prayer were the unique characteristics of our ascent that Saturday morning, only interrupted by the refreshing occurrences of the little ones Ignacio, Vicente and Juanito.
Once we all gathered in the top before the enormous cross that crowned the mountain, Krista directed a beautiful request for the well-being of Lake Chapala to which all the families who had coincided with us in that sacred space united in a spontaneous and enthusiastic way.
Tired but happy and filled with a comforting energy after leaving the mountain behind, we resumed our way by the highway that would take us to Jocotepec. The “town of the hill with fruits” located in the western end of the sacred lake would lead us to the highway that runs through its northern shore and in direction of the house that was our improvised center of operations.
Being one of the oldest settlements of the sacred lake, this town was founded “on the hill with fruits” towards 1361 by Nahuatl tribes that migrated to the Lake from the north of the country. It has existed even before the arrival of the Spanish conquerors, preserving up to our days its old Nahuatl name of Jocotepec.
Being the western entrance door to the north shore of the sacred Lake, this small and beautiful town still preserves part of its original and ancestral beauty, being the seat of old and ancient traditions as well. The veracity of these affirmations were corroborated quickly by New Way because when arriving in two cars at the town we observed the beginning of a traditional pilgrimage in honor of “Nuestro Señor del Monte”, or “Our Lord of the Mountain” one of the saint patrons of the locality.
- Listen, what do you think if we finish our day with this pilgrimage? – Asked us Felix at point-blank with great enthusiasm and introducing almost half of his body through the window of the second car where we squeezed inside.
- Then, this is the reason why you stopped here in the town? – I asked guessing his answer.
- Yes, but look, the most important event of the year here in the town is just starting, and we cannot afford to miss it, what do you say?
The other members of the group that are in my car already agree – He asked us, knowing that he was making us an offer we could not refuse.
The innate and undeniable capacity of Felix to connect us constantly with whichever event of a sacred-spiritual type existed was evident. Not a single member of New Way doubted his accuracy in the benefits such activities were able to derive for the entire group; Nevertheless, in this occasion and because in our car were the children evidently tired by the long journey that was approaching to seven p.m. we decided to deliberate.
Once again, the wisdom and experience of our beloved elder Krista came into the scene to solve the situation, and asking Alicia a few moments, left with her to deliberate in private. This situation made Felix and me a little nervous and we only exchanged confused stares before the laughter that our uncertainty caused in Rosana, Paloma and Natalia. It did not certainly seem to exist at those moments a suitable balance between the feminine and masculine energies. Our fears were unjustified and the solution was perfect. Using her power of infantile persuasion, Alicia managed with great ability to dissuade the children, with the promise that if they cooperated, after the journey we would directly line up ourselves to become some more of the numerous clients of the eatery of Doña Pachita. Moreover – we all knew well by previous experience – she had a special ability to cook all kinds of succulent traditional food in her restaurant located in the same town.
Although this gastronomic excursion would mine a little more our already thin communal budget, the entire group accepted the idea with pleasure because nobody had a single bite to eat since very early in the morning.
Once solved the infantile dilemma, New Way quickly incorporated itself into the religious procession that had already initiated activities, placing ourselves into its rear that advanced winding among the colorful streets of the beautiful shore town of the sacred Lake.
The enormous devotion of the town roamers, in its majority anglers and farmers was for all of us a valid reason for a touching admiration.
In their poverty and simplicity, they showed us the value and deep meaning of the faith that does not look for the answers of the reason and surrenders without conditions to the mysteries of the sacred.
The last journey: finding Rapavilleme
An important discovery, felt by the entire group, was the engaging and feminine quality of the energy received in the nocturnal pilgrimage, which naturally balanced the masculine type of energy received in our ritual ascent completed in the morning of the same day.
This fortuitous mixture of energies was more than evident the following morning when we prepared ourselves to leave our headquarters located in the mountains that bordered the North shore of the sacred Lake. When we were just about to leave for our last journey, the three small members of New Way on a very spontaneous way knelt just in the middle of the living room of the small house where we accommodated ourselves and began to pray with a fervent devotion.
Immediately afterwards, all the enormous group congregated for that special occasion, Krista, Paloma, Alicia, Natalia, Brenda, Rosana, Tomás, Félix, and myself knelt and surrounded in an enormous circle our three small soldiers. They once again showed us with their infantile example, which were the priorities that we had to take care before even trying to conclude the first sacred circle around the sacred Lake.
After about forty-five minutes of intense prayer, a strange but comforting phenomenon descended on the entire group because an energy felt as fresh and vigorous went around our circle in four perceivable occasions from left to right.
Immediately afterwards, all the members of New Way in a totally spontaneous and synchronized manner simply rose of the floor, and taking its personal garments for the day left one by one in complete silence towards the completion of the last journey.
The calm sense of expectancy that animated us all was changing little by little into a festive joy during the bus ride that would take us to the place of our appointment with Don Antonio and its Santa Maria boat. Don Antonio was already waiting for us in the agreed spot upon the south border of the scared lake in the surroundings of Tizapán “the town by where the moon rises”. After two hours of riding in two different buses, we arrived worn out but enthusiastic at our appointment with the sacred Lake; it would probably be 3:30 in the afternoon and the heat of the day was still quite intense. Once the accustomed affectionate greetings with Don Antonio and his son concluded, and before embarking, we assaulted the small provision of delicious “guasanas” and sunflower seeds that Félix the only provident of the group had bought in the town.
At about four in the afternoon, the Santa Maria furrowed again the calm waters of Lake Chapala. The segment to complete this day would finish the last southwest portion of its enormous circumference and we did not think this would take us too much time.
Within New Way, everything was quietness and harmony because the group perceived that this day would be truly special. Quickly and in a natural way, it reigned in all a spontaneous and refreshing silence, introspection and peace. I had never seen so many fishermen’ boats inside the sacred lake; meanwhile, the three small ones played animatedly in the wooden floor of the Santa Maria, who furrowed light the water.
Don Antonio, knowing that this trip would not be too long, led the Santa Maria at low speed as if wanting to enjoy completely this last segment as much as he could. Contemplating the beautiful mountains that surrounded the sacred Lake from the aquatic perspective was a moving experience.
The imposing old figure of the Green Elder, which surely was aware of our work, came to my mind, and before its mental image, I could not avoid an ample smile of satisfaction and pride.
The Santa Maria, who had gone to the west, changed her course to the north, just in front of the highest mountain of those that surround the sacred lake and at whose feet the town of San Luis Soyatlan was located. It was already six in the afternoon and we started the final part of the passage that would take us to our departure point, initiated many journeys back.
Just then and after taking seat in the bow of the Santa Maria, I was gradually surrounded by a veil of absolute silence in which I did not have any volition. This stillness increased by the swinging of the boat on the surface of the water. Aware of the fact that this was perhaps the beginning of a great spiritual gift, I decided to completely surrender to the experience leaving aside all attempt to judge, compare or explain my strange perception. The last thing I thought was in the extraordinary fact that under my feet in the floor of the boat and due to its vibration, a ballpoint pen property of Don Antonio moved around describing perfect circles in the opposite direction of the clock pointers, as if we were sailing through a zone with an extraordinary magnetism.
A moment later, when raising my eyes and fixing them into the lake, what I saw filled me of astonishment: wherever I could see, the normal dividing line of the horizon had been blurred, only a blue and barren bottom. The numerous boats of fishermen’ that I could see at the distance seemed to float everywhere, as well as our boat; everything seemed to be suspended in a sky-blue clear and beautiful. For some instants, I lost all notion of location on earth or sky and could not perceive exactly where we were going through the smooth swinging of the Santa Maria.
In spite of the splendor of my vision, another irresistible force began to take control of my volition, because I felt I had to close my eyes to allow receiving an even better introspection that the one I was witnessing in awe. The irrationality of this proposal took me to resist for brief moments the ending of the gorgeous feeling of being floating in the blue and loving mantle that surrounded us all with great tenderness.
I breathed deeply, as if wanting to inhale as much beauty as I could and my eyes closed immediately. After hearing what seemed like several rings of a small but delicate crystal bell whose resonating sounds I perceived with smoothness but enormous intensity behind and in the middle of my eyes, something in me began to move at an enormous speed within which it seemed to be an enormous underground cavern. I was leaving back shreds of my own being, which somehow I felt would not be of any use for an appointment in which I was the only absentee; moments later, and with whatever was left of my own self I saw them:
They were the most beautiful eyes that I was fortunate to see in my whole life and they watched me with an enormous love; they belonged surely to an extremely beautiful woman and were staring at me with such intensity that I found impossible to see them for a prolonged time. After two or three winks in which somehow I sensed important messages were given to me, those stunning celestial windows disappeared of my vision and my eyes opened immediately.
The sudden return to my normal state of perception produced in me such a shock, that I fell on my back and upon Felix, who was just seated behind me in the Santa Maria, causing of course an explosion of laughter in the entire group.
- Well, well, whom do we have here – Felix commented in laughter
- Sorry Félix – I answered
Look, we are already arriving – Paloma intervened, pointing at the not so distant site in the shore, from which one day we had initiated our sacred circle months back.
- Yeeeees! – The three small ones shouted
Immediately afterwards, and on a totally spontaneous way, a session of affectionate hugs between all the presents began within the Santa Maria, including by all means Don Antonio and his son, our steady and reliable guides in Lake Chapala. They received with evident pride the resounding ovation that in their honor and of their dear Santa Maria, New Way dedicated with great affection.
Once disembarked and having generously covered the fees of Don Antonio and his son, we proceeded to start the ceremony in whom they were included, which would intend to ritually return to Lake Chapala the extracted water of its shore a long time back, and that each one of us had carried ceremonially during all the journeys.
Krista insisted that I should be the one who made the honors in this ceremony, and after a brief friendly discussion because I did not consider deserving such a distinction, I started in a spontaneous way to give some brief instructions for the beginning of the ritual of returning the water to the sacred Lake. It was already seven o clock in the afternoon and the sun began to disappear behind the mountains right to the west of the sacred lake.
First, we would form a ritual circle immersed up to our knees in the water to deposit one by one the liquid extracted when we started this work and which we had taken in small containers with us closely together to our hearts during all the journeys. Bending down near the water we will whisper briefly our affection and gratefulness to the spirit of the place for so many lessons received and our best desires for the quick recovery of the lake.
Next, the ritual would repeat itself but now with the great carafe of water that we all carried along the way communally during all the journeys and that would be circulating on the ritual circle from left to right and whose liquid we would be giving back little by little and one by one until its completion. To each portion of spilled liquid in the sacred Lake, any participant can express a thought, feeling or positive desire for its recovery.
Once this part of the ritual concluded, the intense emotion that dominated us all was already quite evident, as well as the strange luminosity that we received through the water mirror in which we stood immersed. The celestial vault ignited in a multicolor explosion totally a product of the gorgeous sunset that we were so lucky to be witnessing. Knowing that we were in a very special and powerful moment of the day, and to finish the ritual I openly asked the whole group to make spontaneous prayers and petitions directed to the guardians and deities of the sacred Mexican traditions who unite and give identity to our nation and to the Highest Spirit who animates it all.
Immediately and with great success, Brenda, and Tomás guided us in the first part of the prayers that concluded with a moving request of aid for the sacred Lake directed to the guardians of the region performed by Krista and Alicia. Immediately after, a dense silence descended to the place for some instants; it was a very impressive moment when it was not possible to listen to absolutely nothing, as if everything in nature was expectant before the answer of the spirit of the place.
The tension we all felt was growing gradually because certain group intuition prevented us to break the ritual circle. An infantile voice broke the tense silence that surrounded us all with a:
- Go, lagunita, go; go, lagunita, go; go lagunita, go! –
It was little Juanito, that started an infantile cheer in honor of the lake and to which Vicente and Ignacio incorporated immediately. Moments later and with the last rays of the sunset, all New Way was sending to the air resonant cheers all the time more intense and in honor of the sacred Lake.
When aphonic and tired, we finally finished sending our cheers, we found ourselves completely soaked. The calm tide that until then had escorted us, was now a multitude of waves that went and came materially in all directions bathing us by all sides, while at the same time intense gusts of wind went and came everywhere in all directions howling. The most impressed by this evident signal of acceptance by part of the sacred Spirit and the guardians of the place was Don Antonio, who incapable to speak spilled abundant tears through his cheeks.
Knowing that the ritual had concluded, we started to break our circular formation one by one, leaving the water towards the dry and warm shore and in direction to the vacant lot that served us as frank step from the north shore highway during the beginning of our work in Lake Chapala. We were asking ourselves if with the dusk that rapidly was over us we would be incurring in some illegal crossing of a property walking at those hours through the lot with a spiky wire fence. As no other alternative existed at those moments to cross from the shore of the lake towards the highway, we decided to try it and we directed ourselves one by one in a single line formation, to the crossing point, with Rosana leading the way.
Almost when the front of our column arrived at the fence of the lot, we all heard a muffled shout coming from Rosana who denoted surprise. Felix and I who were covering the rear agreed to go to investigate just in case, but when we noticed that the group continued its advance without difficulty, we decided to wait and keep moving without breaking the formation.
When we arrived at the crossing point where the spiky wire fence was surrounding the vacant lot, we had a major surprise discovering the presence of an indigenous elder dressed as the locals of the region that had opened the wire spiky fence door for us. He warmly maintained it open to allow the passage of all New Way, smiling at each member of the group.
- Come in, come in, I will close the door, don’t you worry, come in - he said to us one by one.
Understanding that we had to continue walking in complete silence, our group went deep into the vacant lot in the shadows of the night only to find a well-cared and small garden of fruit trees whose leaves and flowers at those times of the night gave off intense and pleasant aromas of lemon, mandarin, orange, and limes. We quickly reached the other end of the small lot whose door of spiky fence wire also was open wide.
Crossing the small north shore highway and once on the other side, we all intuited in our hearts that everything had concluded. We had managed to bring successfully to a close a sacred circle around our dear Chapala Lake.
A guardian of the place closed the ritual door. The Sacred Spirit who animates the sacred lake received our candid message of love and hard work in favor of its quick recovery. We managed to fulfill the request of help delivered to us by the Green Elder. Now everything was in the hands of the sacred and Highest Spirit who animates us all and of the sacred guardians of the place.
A little after, an unexpected rainy season broke the long drought lowered on all the west of the country. Particularly on the micro-region of the sacred Lake and its nourishing river it rained with such intensity that all the dams that normally exhausted the vital liquid going through the sacred Lake, had to open their floodgates to avoid collapsing to the pressure caused by the overflowing of the water that fell from the skies.
The Sacred Lake experienced a recovery in its water level never seen in the last twenty-five years.
Rapavilleme, the Sacred Spirit who animates it decided to remain in the lake.
Agustin received an urgent petition of help for the healing of a large lake whose resources were being dilapidated and all its forms of life endangered by the human voracity. The most important danger for this sacred place would be the definitive disappearance of Rapavilleme, the powerful spirit that had animated it for thousands of years and whose characteristic vibration was very suitable for the healing of all types of psychic and spiritual sufferings. The solutions to this challenge couldn't come from any technological or political approaches that have proven in the past to be unsuccessful and covering only personal ambitions. Agustin decided to attempt to help the lake through works of Spiritual Ecology in which inner silence and ritual were incorporated. The work required honesty and a pure motivation, essential requirements to try and ritually grab the attention of the Guardians of the Lake, whoever they were. Follow Agustin and his group in their quest to help an endangered lake and establish contact with its sacred spirit.